Divinities at Dawn from Celestial Dancers for Flute and Piano
- Staff Pick
“Great recital material!”
Pan - Journal of the British Flute Society
This is a version for flute and piano of the earlier work for violin (which can be heard on a 2011 Centaur Records recording), and also appears as the 3rd movement of Celestial Dancers, a work for wind ensemble. Inspired by the Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia, the music reflects the early morning atmosphere of calm, before gaining energy as the sun rises.
Suitable for intermediate players, the music is typical of much contemporary American tonal repertoire; the lushly consonant melodies have a somewhat ambient feel, long singing phrases and perhaps even a hint of a celtic influence. The piano part develops to become a texture of accompanying semiquavers. While there are some enjoyable ideas, I found myself losing interest, both while playing and while listening to the recording, around six minutes into the piece’s nine-minute duration. The slow material from the opening makes a brief reappearance at the end, almost wistfully.
This is unassuming, lyrical music which allows for the expres-sion of a cantabile tone, as well as giving some opportunities for faster moving, dance-like material (even though the suggested metronome mark of crotchet = 96 is a little pedestrian for its allegro molto description). The material is well suited to the flute and uses both the low register and the upper range effectively. I spotted one low Cb, within a particularly awkward semiquaver cluster for the right hand little finger, which makes a B foot a necessity, but this could probably be omitted or adapted to make it suitable for C foot. The score is typically well presented in Presser’s house style.
From the Publisher
Divinities at Dawn is inspired by the composer’s visit to the extraordinary temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, which are covered with thousands of carvings. Seeing the gleaming images of Divinities in the early morning hours inspired Ewazen’s wind ensemble suite, Celestial Dancers. Divinities at Dawn is his flute and piano adaptation of the suite’s third movement. The music portrays the early morning hours as the sun creates a golden glow on the ornate carvings with music that is soft, quiet, and mysterious – but as the sun continues to rise and gleam, the music becomes energetic and full of life with the Divinities’ dance becoming joyous and intricate with swirling musical gestures rising to the heavens.
Finalist: NFA Newly Published Music Awards 2020
Performance duration (approx): 9'
Difficulty level, roughly compared to ABRSM exam grades. 0 is beginner, 9 is advanced (beyond grade 8).